Monthly Archives: August 2017

World Humanitarian Day


“Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict. On this day we also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need, and pay tribute to the government employees, members of civil society and representatives of international organizations and agencies who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid and protection.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Global Humanitarian overview 2017


Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma Alex Lazar 7 MIN READ

Aung San Suu Kyi

Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma

Journalist Organization Gives Award to CNN’s Jim Acosta


Journalist Organization Gives Award to CNN’s Jim Acosta

NAHJ honors vocal Trump critic for ‘always pushing both sides to answer the tough questions’

BY: Jack Heretik

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is giving its 2017 Presidential Award to CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who has emerged this year as a media star for his frequent clashes with the Trump administration.

NAHP will honor Acosta at the Hall of Fame Gala on Sept. 9 in Anaheim, Calif., the group announced Wednesday.

“For the past years, I’ve seen Jim Acosta in action. He’s covered President Obama and President Donald Trump, always pushing both sides to answer the tough questions,” said Brandon Benavides, NAHJ’s president. “As a voice for the people, Acosta is not afraid to hold our elected leaders accountable. Regardless of criticism, he remains focused in a pursuit of truth for our communities.”

Acosta has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and his administration. He also has been a foe of White House press secretaries, gaining attention for his outbursts and commentary on policy issues during press briefings.

Some of Acosta’s own CNN colleagues have criticized his antics, saying he is angling for his own opinion show on the network rather than reporting.

During a recent press briefing about immigration, Acosta got into a heated argument with White House policy adviser Stephen Miller that gained widespread media attention. Acosta’s comments and argument drew as much attention as the issue itself. At one point, he accused the White House of “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people” into the United States.

At a press conference in January, Trump called Acosta and CNN “fake news.” Acosta has also accused Trump of hosting a “fake news conference.”

Acosta tweeted on Wednesday that he is “incredibly honored” to receive NAHP’s award and thanked the organization.

Britain’s performing arts has ‘class shaped hole’ warns diversity report

Britain’s performing arts has ‘class shaped hole’ warns diversity report

Widespread action is needed recommends the Labour Party research.


A “class shaped hole” exists across the performing arts industry in Britain, a diversity report has found.

Widespread action by government, drama colleges, HMRC, broadcasters, film companies and theatres is needed to counter a “diversity crisis” across performing arts according to Labour Party research, Acting Up.

Led by the party’s MPs Tracy Brabin, an ex-Coronation Street actress, and Gloria De Piero, a former ITV journalist, Acting Up lays out a series of recommendations including urging the government to take action over a drop in the number of GCSE students studying drama.

Labour MP Tracy Brabin and deputy leader Tom Watson (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

It also calls on the Arts Council to stop funding projects which pay “poverty wages” and the need for a targeted review by Her Majesties Revenue and Customs into enforcing the application of the national living wage across the industry.

The report took evidence from a number of on-screen and behind-the-scenes talent including actress and star of The Good Wife, Cush Jumbo, who revealed she was told her south London accent was “lazy” during her time at drama school and described the experience as the first time she “realised I was of colour”.

Ms De Piero and Ms Brabin said the report shows the arts is “increasingly dominated by a narrow set of people from well off backgrounds”.

Ms Brabin warned a “carousel of the same stories” would continue if action was not taken to increase the amount of working class, disabled and diverse talent.

Cush Jumbo (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The research, commissioned by the party’s deputy leader and shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, found an example of the Arts Council funding a project which paid workers or performers as little as £100 a week for eight weeks’ full-time work.

Citing the release of the BBC top paid on-screen talent in highlighting the gender and black, Asian and minority ethnic pay gaps, the report calls for a more comprehensive approach to diversity data collection across film, TV, theatre and drama schools in order to form a clearer picture of the current make-up of the performing arts.

Other key recommendations include:

:: An increase in funding for schools to take students on free trips to the theatre.

:: Reforming the application process for drama schools which currently charge audition fees of up to £100.

:: A revamp of the EBacc – a school performance indicator tied to GCSEs made up of English, maths, science, history or geography, and a language – which the report claims has led to a “systematic marginalisation of arts subjects, particularly drama, from schools”.

Rakie Ayola praised the report (Matt Crossick/PA

Writing in the report, Ms Brabin and Ms De Piero, said: “As women from northern working class backgrounds who went on to work in TV we know what it’s like to have people sneer at your accent and struggle to pay your way.”

They added the issue matters particularly in the performing arts as it offers a “mirror to the nation” and claimed “we’ll all be poorer” if progress is not made.

Rakie Ayola, who is currently starring as Hermione in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, praised the report and called for immediate action.

She said: “If you ask everyone in the industry if they are for diversity they all put their hands up, but there comes a time when people need to say it out loud. That time is now.”

A Government spokesman said they were “completely committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to take part in arts and culture, including in schools,”.

They also referenced a 2016 Culture White Paper and a review of Arts Council England which aim to make “diversity across the arts workforce a priority”.

He added: “There is no evidence that GCSE entries in arts subjects have declined as a direct result of the introduction of the EBacc performance measure. We are also investing £300 million between 2016 – 2020 to help young people from all backgrounds enjoy music and arts.”

“The government is clear that all businesses, irrespective of size or sector, are responsible for paying the minimum wage and takes action to ensure that everyone receive what they are entitled to,” the spokesman said.

Press Association

The only democracy in the Middle East? Not without free speech, Israel is not

david sheen
Israel promotes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak once described his nation as a “villa in the jungle“. But recent years have seen a major erosion of press freedoms in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and an Israeli Jewish public that wholeheartedly supports the suppression of independent media.

Palestinian journalists are routinely harassed and arrested. Palestinians are increasingly targeted on social media after Israel accuses them of incitementAl Jazeera is now being threatened with closure. Israel’s communication minister Ayoub Kara claimed that Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain were his inspiration for trying to shut the Qatari news channel.

Israeli journalists aren’t immune. Being opposed to the decades-long occupation automatically makes you a target. Israel cannot maintain its control over millions of Palestinians without instituting a regime of control, intimidation, imprisonment and death. Occupation is

, imprisonment and death. Occupation is brutal, unforgivingand now permanent.

Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen is the latest reporter to fall foul of Israel’s draconian political environment – and his case should be a wake-up call to a global community that still clings to the belief that Israel is a thriving democracy.

Sheen has contributed to The New Arab, Haaretz, Al Jazeera and others, and is one of Israel’s finest chroniclersof the state’s mistreatment of its Africans, and a consistent advocate of humanitarian principles.

He is being sued by an Israeli general, Israel Ziv, for writing about Ziv’s connections to the South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir.

Late last year, Israel’s Channel 2 discovered that Ziv’s company, Global CST, in addition to assisting and trainingsecurity forces in South America, Eurasia and Africa, was advising Kiir to defend his beleaguered South Sudanese regime.

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